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SIE Foundation Year: your ticket to an undergraduate degree in Italy

The School for International Education (SIE) supports international students as they embark on a new journey in the breathtaking city of Venice. It does so by offering courses in Italian and English, as well as Italian language and culture classes. It also organises popular Summer Schools with prestigious international universities.

SIE’s Foundation Year is a programme that prepares international students for undergraduate studies in Italy. If you need to reach the minimum number of years of schooling required by Italian standards, this programme is exactly what you need. 

Students follow a general curriculum which includes courses on modern Italian history, critical thinking and academic skills. You can then personalise your course by choosing one of four Study Tracks – Humanities, Economics and Management, Science, or Architecture Art and Design (in collaboration with Iuav) – and selecting the English or Italian language module which is most appropriate for you. 

The Foundation Years of 2019/2020 and 2020/2021: an international experience 

In 2019/2020, 35 international students participated in the Foundation Year, and 13 of them chose Ca’ Foscari for their bachelor's degree.

In 2020/2021, 34 international students joined the Foundation Year online during the first semester, and 20 of them moved to Venice during the second semester. SIE’s Foundation Year students come from all over the world: Russia, Brasil, the USA, Peru, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Ukraine, Egypt, South Africa, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Turkey. 

Learn Italian with the “Bridge” programme

The 2020/2021 edition of SIE’s Foundation Year was particularly special because the students took an Italian language course that brought their level up to B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which is the level required for admission to Italian bachelor degrees. This means that foundation students taking this programme can aim to enrol in a bachelor's programme in Italian, as well as in English. 

This year’s students were encouraged by their language teacher, Silvia Scolaro, to create a fun and engaging collaborative project: a comic in Italian. The students chose a number of characters and created a story set in Venice. 

“Over 1000 students come to Venice every year. We are working to make SIE and the FY even more engaging” – Professor Enrico Palandri, President of the School for International Education

 "The School for International Education has developed in recent years a broad range of activities to strengthen Ca' Foscari international vocation,” says Enrico Palandri, Professor of Comparative Literature and President of SIE.

“Our university is famous for being one of the only two Italian institutions that offer Oriental Studies, and for hosting some forty languages and cultures in the rich portfolio of its courses.  

Ca' Foscari has also chosen to enhance its offer to international students. Alongside several Summers Schools based in Venice that we have developed over the years with Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, UIBE and others, we are now offering a dozen courses with cultural contents all taught in English to the over 1000 students that come to Venice in several exchange agreements (Erasmus, year abroad, Double degrees etc.).

The Foundation Year, launched in 2020 and in the extremely adverse condition of the COVID-19 pandemic, has already proved to be very successful and this year we have almost doubled subscriptions. This confirms how attractive Venice is for international students. The provisions (linguistic and with four different cultural pathways) have been met with very favourable response by our first cohorts and we are planning to expand our activities to make SIE and the Foundation Year ever more engaging.”

Financial aid for international students at Ca' Foscari

Last, but not least, the best performing students who successfully complete the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year and then enrol in a degree programme at Ca' Foscari will receive a tuition fee waiver on the first payment for tuition fees, and for all future payments, provided they complete 42 ECTS per year. In addition, they can apply for a scholarship of € 5,000 awarded to international students through an annual call. All the details can be found on the financial aid webpage. 


Applications for 2021/2022 are open until 4 July. Check out the website to find all the information you are looking for! 

Have a look at the comic created by this year’s students.

Joangela Ceccon